August 17, 2015 | (17) Comments

“The best companies in the world are those that have outstanding frontline leadership.”

That’s no. 10 of my Maxims of Leadership, and it is evidenced every single day at Texas Children’s. Our organization, which is innovating and growing at such an amazing pace, is propelled by our people. Our incredible staff and employees are why we are one of the best organizations in the world. Recently, when I had an opportunity to visit with our Emergency Center preceptors, I enjoyed being reminded yet again just how true Maxim no. 10 is.

By definition, a preceptor is a teacher responsible for upholding a certain law or tradition – a precept. Our preceptors throughout the organization are the nurses who train new nurses to care for our patients, upholding our high standard of care. Just in the EC, our preceptors have trained 47 nurses and eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs) since October 1 – 13,900 hours spent training and teaching in less than a year. Across the organization, we’ve had about 1,100 clinical orientees since October 1 who’ve received more than 280,000 hours of training. As you can see, our preceptors are making an awesome contribution.

Our preceptors in units throughout Texas Children’s impart wisdom and practices that can’t be found in textbooks or taught in a classroom. They nurture our culture and create a sense of warmth, security and family for nurses who are just starting out and getting a foothold in their careers. This instills confidence and inspires excellence, helping ensure that our new nurses transition more seamlessly into our organization.

Essentially, like all good teachers, preceptors give their “students” a model to which to aspire. And the really great teachers know something else that’s just as important – they know when and how to give their students the space to grow and demonstrate just how much and how well they’ve learned. Actually, I like the way Carrie Stocker puts it. Carrie is a nurse who joined us a few months ago and recently completed orientation with three awesome preceptors. She explains it like this:

Preceptors must master the art of dancing. My preceptors knew when to lead and when to follow. The best dance partners know each other and each other’s movements really well so they can make adjustments in the moment. My preceptors’ constant adjustment from leading to following ensured for my maximum growth. By providing a gradual release of responsibility, my preceptors first took the lead and then smoothly and confidently allowed me to take the reins. They had equipped me quickly with the skills I needed to be able to dance with the stars here at TCH!  

Well said Carrie. There is absolutely an art to leading and following and knowing when to do which.

The time that our preceptors spend teaching and molding new nurses fortifies the organization in immeasurable, yet very tangible ways. And quite honestly, that’s true of every single person here – clinical and non-clinical – who takes the time to help teach a colleague a new skill or a better or more efficient practice. As Texas Children’s continues to grow at such a staggering rate, we rely on everyone’s willingness to do that. And I get it – some days, that’s hard. Our patient volume is growing, we have more patients with higher acuity, and we feel that across the organization. Daily, we balance that with training and teaching all the new Texas Children’s staff and employees we are aggressively onboarding to help us care for all of those precious patients. All told, our workforce of 10,000 will grow to 15,000 in three years – yes, 50 percent.

But the way I see it, this growth in volume and workforce is an amazing opportunity to serve our mission. The reason we are blessed with all of you – staff and employees who are hands down the very best at what you do – is because we are meant to use every person and every gift we have to fulfill our mission. We are meant to mold others and to advance care. We are meant to heal children and women for years to come. That’s why it’s so very important to share our gifts and inspire our people. It’s what we’ve always done, and it’s why we’re one of the best organizations in the world.

July 10, 2015 | (3) Comments

Leadership always influences or determines outcomes – not some of the time, but all of the time.

This is the first of my 10 maxims of leadership, and I believe it wholeheartedly. I always enjoy observing great leadership in action at Texas Children’s. Because I know where there is great leadership, there are inspired people doing phenomenal work to advance our mission. Such was the case as I visited our Texas Children’s locations this week.

On July 6, I kicked off the One Amazing Team tour to visit more than 60 Texas Children’s facilities, including Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care sites, Texas Children’s Health Centers, our Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinics and The Center for Children and Women locations. My team and I started with our practices in North Houston, and, in all, we visited 13 Texas Children’s locations this week.

The smiles and warmth that greeted us at each location was amazing. People were happy about serving our patients and being a part of Texas Children’s. And our patients were happy. Many of them were anxious to tell me how long they’d been coming to the physicians and caregivers at a particular practice and about the great care their family receives. Arlene, a mother I met in the waiting room at Texas Children’s Pediatrics FM 2920, had nothing but kind things to say about the staff and employees there who have become part of her extended family.


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Also, each location was simply beautiful. Bright, vibrant and clean. Fun, seasonal décor greeted patients at some sites, and inspirational posters and signage encouraged team members at others. I loved walking through each site, knowing that this is what families see when they enter a Texas Children’s location. Obviously, this is important to the patient and family experience. A well-maintained site helps reassure families about the care they will receive there. It also imparts a consistency and level of quality that strengthens the Texas Children’s brand.

But what made the most indelible impression on me was the leadership on display. At each stop, the first person to greet our team was the practice manager or another staff leader. They took such evident pride in their respective facility and team. I spent a good deal of time talking with each of them about their patient volumes and demographics, and overall patient culture. They asked thoughtful questions, and they shared great ideas.

Everyone I met on our tour was on fire for Texas Children’s and passionate about their work. It gave me even more confidence about the growth we will experience in the next few years as we dramatically expand Texas Children’s and our workforce to meet the needs of our patients and their families.

Walking through the many Texas Children’s sites, hearing your stories and knowing of your long-time commitment to Texas Children’s, I know that your dedication and love for this organization will only multiply as so many new people join us. Because it is clear that the Texas Children’s culture of leadership knows no geographical barriers.

Follow the One Amazing Team tour on social media

My team and I will resume the One Amazing Team tour in August, with several dates scheduled to visit more Texas Children’s sites. You can see where we’re going and all the fun we’re having on the road by following us on social media:

Twitter: @TexasChildrens

Instagram: oneamazingteam